Habits of the Workshop – February 1919

The pavements of Glasgow streets bear striking evidence to the fact that tens of thousands of people are idle. In many parts it is impossible to walk without stepping into some vile expectoration. If one has to push through a group engaged in heated argument, one must keep a watchful eye on the disputants lest one of them suddenly turns and spits out, regardless of his target.

They have brought with them into the thoroughfares, the habits of the yard and the workshop, and are no doubt quite unconscious that these habits are offensive to the cleanly sense of the community. Probably, it is a physical impossibility for them to refrain from spitting.

And yet, in other classes of society, where expectoration used to be common, it has become taboo. Some of us remember those horrible things called spittoons which were in every household where there was a smoker. (I am told that they are still used in public houses).

It is amazing to remember that quite decent men expected women to clean those abominations after them, and still more amazing that generations of women did it without protest. Now it is the cleanly habit among our men not to require a spittoon. Perhaps the cigarette habit has helped the admonitions of our medical men.

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